Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Well Said...

"Design and programming are human activities; forget that and all is lost."

~ Bjarne Stroustrup

Prof Bjarne Stroustrup (1951- )

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Working from Home is a Joy...

Working from home is a joy -- I know...

Yours Truly at my Desk...

An Historical Gap in the Literature

Historians looking for an historical gap in the literature worth researching should examine the political and personal ties formed between former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former Secretary of the Treasury Henry "Hank" Paulson, prior to and during the second Bush administration.

Hon Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney (1941- )

Hon Donald Henry Rumsfeld (1932- )

Hon Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson, Jr. (1946- )

Completing the historical record regarding the various dealings between these three influential power elites is of keen interest to society...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Federal Reserve Contempt for Main Street USA

For the last three years we have been told repeatedly by government officials that funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to large and teetering banks during the credit crisis was necessary to save the financial system, and beneficial to Main Street.... But this has been a hard sell to an increasingly skeptical public.

Read More

Source: Morgenson, G (2011, August 27), The Rescue that Missed Main Street, New York Times Online.

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Hurricane Irene Generates Local Sales

In Eastern Pennsylvania, hurricane supplies were in short supply as Hurricane Irene approached from the South -- hurricanes and other natural disasters can be opportunities for local retailers.

Home Depot Workers Carry a Portable Generator

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene Seeks Knockout

As Hurricane Irene makes landfall and begins its rampage up the Eastern seaboard, the US economy is hanging onto the ropes hoping to survive yet another barrage of devastating punches. Is Hurricane Irene the knockout blow...?

Hurricane Irene Approaches US Eastern Seaboard

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Economic Recovery...?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently revised the US real gross domestic product growth rate downward for second quarter 2011 to an annual rate of 1.0 percent -- to understand how devastating this low rate of growth is for recovery, consider the chart below based on data provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

[click to enlarge]

Simply put, current growth rates in the US do not point toward economic recovery...

Source: Thoma, M (2011, August 27), How Long Will It Take for the Economy to Recover? Economist's View.

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Inspiration for Enterprise

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Bernanke's Doublespeak

Here is an example of Dr Ben Bernanke's style of doublespeak quoted from his Jackson Hole remarks today:
To achieve economic and financial stability, US fiscal policy must be placed on a sustainable path that ensures that debt relative to national income is at least stable or, preferably, declining over time...  Although the issue of fiscal sustainability must urgently be addressed, fiscal policymakers should not, as a consequence, disregard the fragility of the current economic recovery...  Acting now to put in place a credible plan for reducing future deficits over the longer term, while being attentive to the implications of fiscal choices for the recovery in the near term, can help serve both objectives.
Dr Bernanke should simply say what he means...

Source: Wessel, D (2011, August 26), Key Passages from Bernanke's Jackson Hole Remarks, Wall Street Journal Online.

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Exotic Swedish Hotels

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Calculators for Mobile Devices: Better and Cheaper

Replace your separate portable financial calculator with Calc Pro (Panaromic), which comes in versions for Windows 7, Windows Mobile, iPad, iPhone, and iPod (the iPhone version appears below).

Calc Pro is actually 10 calculators in one:
  • Standard calculator
  • Scientific calculator (includes RPN mode & access to constants)
  • Base conversions (convert between 8 different number bases)
  • Graphing calculator (8 equations)
  • Unit converter (over 3000 conversions in 19 categories)
  • World currencies converter (150+ currencies updated daily)
  • Constants (1500+ constants in 4 categories)
  • Financial calculator (with 10 worksheets)
  • Statistics calculator (with 4 types of regression analysis & graphing)
  • Date and time calculator
The Financial Calculator contains 10 calculator worksheets to help solve common financial problems, including:
  • Mortgage calculator
  • Tip calculator
  • Loan calculator
  • Time value money worksheet
  • Financial date worksheet
  • Percentage change worksheet
  • Break-even worksheet
  • Profit margin worksheet
  • Depreciation worksheet
  • Compound interest worksheet
Other features:
  • Four display options (normal, scientific, engineering, & fixed with 2-10 decimal places)
  • Five calculator modes (simple, algebraic, direct algebraic, expression, & RPN)
  • Five skin styles (each with eight color schemes)
With Calc Pro installed on my mobile, I no longer have to carry a separate TI-BAII (Texas Instruments) or HP-12C (Hewlett-Packard) calculator with me everywhere...

Learn More

Fed Handed Out $1.2 Trillion in Secret Loans

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fed Prefers Wall Street to Main Street with $1.2 Trillion in "Secret Loans"

According to Derek Thompson of The Atlantic:
Bloomberg reporters Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz catalog the Fed's $1.2 trillion in "secret loans" to banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs.... The Fed's secret bailout comes out to the same amount US homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The progressive take on this story will be that the Fed has preferenced Wall Street over Main Street by using its exceptional authority to extend trillions in loans to banks without offering similar guarantees to underwater home owners.
Let's face it, bankers watch out for other bankers...

Source: Thompson, D (2011, August 22), The Fed's 'Secret' $1.2 Trillion Bailout of Wall Street, The Atlantic.

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Earthquake in Virginia

Virginia experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake at 1:51 pm (Eastern) today -- although I live hundreds of miles north of the epicenter in Pennsylvania, we felt the tremors even here...

The tremors only lasted 10-15 seconds...

Future Skill Shortages in the US Economy? Sorting Out the Evidence

by David Neumark, Hans Johnson, and Marisol Cuellar Mejia © 2011

The impending retirement of the baby-boom cohort represents the first time in the history of the US that such a large and well-educated group of workers will exit the labour force. Despite the gloomy outlook of recent research, this column suggests there is little likelihood of large-scale skill shortages emerging by the end of this decade.

Ageing workforces pose challenges to governments around the world. While fiscal issues surrounding pension and social security have been very much in the news, a less well-known issue concerns skills.  The impending retirement of the baby-boom cohort brings with it the potential for skill shortages. The boomers are well-educated, having come into adulthood as the nation was rapidly expanding post-secondary educational opportunities. In earlier decades, younger workers replacing older workers were both much more educated and much more numerous. But the baby boomers are nearly as educated as current younger cohorts (Figure 1) and are large in number. Thus, their retirement will slow the growth of skill levels in the workforce, leading to shortages if skill demands continue to increase.

Figure 1. Number of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree by age group (25-44 and 45-64)

Source: Decennial Census (1990 and 2000); American Community Survey (2008)

Carnevale et al (2010) recently projected large shortages by the end of this decade: “By 2018, the postsecondary system will have produced 3 million fewer college graduates than demanded by the labour market” (p 16). But Harrington and Sum (2010) criticise these projections, instead seeing over-education or “mal-employment” – college workers in jobs that do not require college degrees – as “perhaps the most pressing problem facing college graduates in the nation today….”

Our projections of skill supplies and demands for the US economy stake out a middle ground. We foresee rising demand for highly-educated workers. But in the near term this rising demand will by and large be met by rising education levels among the US population, suggesting little risk of a substantial workforce skills gap. At the same time, there are greater risks of skill shortages in states with large and growing, and less-educated, immigrant populations. And over the longer-term, as more baby boomers retire, there is greater risk of substantial skill shortages nationwide.

Projections of skill supplies and demands through 2018

Our demand projections rest on US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) projections of employment growth by occupation to 2018 (Lacey and Wright 2009). To project the education requirements of future jobs, we could also rely on the BLS, which classifies occupations by educational requirements. However, using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), we find substantial labour market returns, within occupations, to educational levels beyond those that the BLS deems “required” (see Neumark et al 2011). We therefore instead use empirical evidence on employment practices to estimate and project workforce skills needs, starting with the baseline education distribution of workers by occupation in 2008 and applying recent trend growth in education distributions within occupation (using ACS and Decennial Census data). Applying these estimates to the occupational projections, we obtain projected skill (education) demands.

To project supply, we construct new population forecasts that take account of nativity (unlike US Census Bureau population projections), and we project population by education, and labour force participation. Three important factors underlie our projections:
  • First, that young adults will continue to experience improvements in educational attainment compared to the preceding cohorts;
  • Second, that there will be continued upgrading of educational attainment levels of older workers; and
  • Third, that labour force participation rates will continue to rise for more highly-educated older adults, and that past patterns in retirement will prevail for the baby boom as it reaches retirement ages.
In Table 1, we compare our preferred educational attainment projections (supply) with the employment projections (demand), in levels and shares. These projections do not point to significant impending shortages of skilled workers in the US through 2018, as the projected demand and supply shares by education are quite similar. We do see projected shortages for people with an Associate’s degree (356,000), and some excess supply of less-educated workers (those with some college or a high school degree or less). Our comparisons are based on projected total labour force supply of workers, and do not include forecasts of unemployment. If we adjust the 2018 supply projections for unemployment rates by education category as observed in 2008, then the projected shortage of workers with an Associate’s degree or higher expands to around 800,000, still far less than Carnevale et al predict.

Conflicting evidence

We have explored numerous explanations for why Carnevale et al (2010) project much more substantial skill shortages. The difference is primarily attributable to the data they use (the Current Population Survey, or CPS). In particular, the CPS data show a higher share with college degrees at the 2008 baseline, and faster growth of these shares over time, both of which lead to considerably higher projected demand for workers with college degrees in 2018. But the CPS data appear problematic. First, the CPS data appear to overstate the share with Associate’s degrees, because the CPS equates occupational or vocational programmes with college degrees, whereas the ACS data do not. The CPS data also show much faster growth rates in the share with Bachelor’s degrees or higher.

We verified that these data differences explain the differences between our demand projections and theirs. Moreover, in both data sets the shares in each education category in 2008 appear anomalous, whereas education trends through 2007 were much more similar. We therefore redid the demand-side forecasts using data from 2000-2007 (rather than 2000-2008) to estimate the within-occupation trends in education, in which case the entire difference between the projections was attributable to the different baseline educational distribution in the CPS. Finally, because Carnevale et al use a supply projection from a completely different source, it seemed likely that using CPS on both the demand and supply sides of the market should substantially reduce the sensitivity of the projections to the definition of education, which we verified. Using CPS data on both sides of the market leads to much milder projections of skill shortages than the dramatic shortages that Carnevale et al project.

The Harrington and Sum criticism of the projections in Carnevale et al (2010) could equally well be directed at our projections. They argue against using observed educational distributions within occupations to measure educational requirements, and instead believe that the BLS determinations of skill requirements are accurate. Although they do not develop projections, our full paper (Neumark et al, 2011) shows that if we project skill demands based on BLS skill requirements, we project massive oversupply of skilled workers. So Harrington and Sum are right that conclusions about skill shortages depend critically on how one measures skill requirements.

However, the argument that BLS skill requirements are accurate is belied by the evidence that there are substantial economic returns, within occupations, to education levels above those “required” according to the BLS. Although Harrington and Sum (forthcoming) present some evidence that appears to suggest the opposite, their evidence is based on earnings regressions that omit occupation controls, leading to spurious evidence of lower estimated returns to education for those in occupations that use less-educated workers. For example, Harrington and Sum (2010) tell the “story” of bartenders (college degree is not required) and compensation and benefits managers (college degree required). The question is not whether bartenders earn less than compensation and benefits managers, but whether the return to education within for bartenders is less than the return to education for compensation and benefits managers. We therefore conclude that the Harrington and Sum critique of using observed rather than “required” education to capture skill demands is unfounded.

Skill shortages in some states?

Although we do not project significant near-term skill shortages nationwide, the situation could differ in states with large and growing Hispanic immigrant shares in which older adults nearing retirement ages are notably better educated than young adults. States that fit this profile include California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. The importance of these demographic changes is illustrated by a simple exercise where we project supply for the nation, but substituting California’s ethnic composition in 2018 for that of the entire US. In other words, we ask the question, would there be a national skill shortage if the country had California’s demographic mix? The answer is yes: we project a deficit of 3.1 million workers with an associate’s degree or higher. Of course, domestic migration could ameliorate some of these shortages.

Skill shortages in the longer term?

The longer-term perspective is also less sanguine. Our projections extend to 2018 because the BLS occupation projections end there. But the majority of boomers (two of every three) will be younger than age 65 in 2018, whereas by 2030 all of the boomers will have passed age 65. We expect that projections of the US economy to 2030 would show a continuation of greater rates of growth in industries and occupations that employ highly-educated workers, consistent with the long-standing trend in the US, and accentuated by the increased demand for healthcare as the baby boomers enter old age. Yet the size of the baby boom cohort coupled with its high education levels imply that the replacement of older with younger cohorts will not lead to rising education levels to anything like the extent to which it did in the past (Figure 1). It is plausible, then, that general skill shortages would be much more evident in projections extended out a couple more decades.

The research on the projections was supported by the Gates Foundation and the AARP Foundation. The views expressed are the authors’, and do not reflect the views of PPIC or the AARP or Gates Foundations.


Carnevale, Anthony P, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl (2010), Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, Centre on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University.

Harrington, Paul E and Andrew M Sum (2010, November), “College Labour Shortages in 2018?”, New England Journal of Higher Education.

Harrington, Paul E and Andrew M Sum (2011), “Recent Projections of Labour Shortages Through 2018: From Great Recession to Labour Shortages? A Critical Look at the Evidence”, forthcoming in Monthly Labour Review.

Lacey, T Alan, and Benjamin Wright (2009), “Occupational Employment Projections to 2018”, Monthly Labour Review, 132(11), November, 82-123.

Neumark, David, Hans P Johnson, and Marisol Cuellar Mejia (2011), “Future Skill Shortages in the US Economy?”, NBER Working Paper No. 17213.

Republished with permission of

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Future of Tenure at Public Universities

According to Prof James D Miller:
Many governors face enormous fiscal shortfalls, forcing them to choose which public employees to anger. Tenured professors, I suspect, have a lot less political clout in most states than do policeman, nurses, prison guards and public school teachers. If online education keeps improving, then I predict that some governor is going to propose firing most of the tenured faculty at his public colleges and replacing the high-priced teachers with online courses. Since Republicans consider academia to be a creature of the far left, many Republican governors would undoubtedly take joy in decimating the traditional higher education market.
Embodied knowledge (technology) is beginning to trump embedded knowledge (professors) in higher education -- the future of tenure at public colleges and universities is at best, unclear.

A Typical Faculty Processional at a College Graduation Ceremony

Source: Miller, J D (2011, August 19), Get Out While You Can, Inside Higher Ed.

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Flash Mob in Copenhagen Central Station

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jon Stewart: World Class Warfare


PS: According to Turkish folklore, the nazar boncuğu (or blue "lucky eye", also known as the "evil eye") warns off evil, especially from the envious...

Well Said...

"Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent."

~ William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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What is a Portfolio...?

portfolio portfolios
1. a flat case, esp of leather, used for carrying maps, drawings, etc.
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) the contents of such a case, such as drawings, paintings, or photographs, that demonstrate recent work an art student's portfolio
3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) such a case used for carrying ministerial or state papers
4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the responsibilities or role of the head of a government department the portfolio for foreign affairs
(Government, Politics & Diplomacy)
Minister without portfolio a cabinet minister who is not responsible for any government department
5. (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Stock Exchange) the complete investments held by an individual investor or by a financial organization
[from Italian portafoglio, from portāre to carry + foglio leaf, paper, from Latin folium leaf]

What's in your portfolio...?

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Friday, August 19, 2011

What Does "One Dollar" Mean...?

I choose Lady Liberty, thank you...

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Real Unemployment in the US

According to the Wall Street Journal (2011):
  • At least 13.9 million people are unemployed in the US today.
  • More people are unemployed in the US today than there are people in any US state, with the exceptions of Florida, New York, Texas, and California.
  • More people are unemployed in the US today than the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho, and the District of Columbia.
  • More people are unemployed in the US today than there are people in either Greece or Portugal.
To the above, I would add the fact that more people are unemployed in the US today than at the peak of the Great Depression in 1933.

Real unemployment is measured in number of souls.

Source: Wessel, D (2011, August 19), The United States of Unemployment, Wall Street Journal Online.

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What is Value...?

Value means getting the most from your time and everything you have the use of.

Myself in Brussels (Summer, 2011) [click to enlarge]

I choose to live a life of value...

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What is Decentralization?

1. To distribute the administrative functions or powers of (a central authority) among several local authorities.
a. To bring about the redistribution of (an urban population and industry) to suburban areas.
b. To cause to withdraw or disperse from a center of concentration: decentralize a university complex; decentralize a museum.
To undergo redistribution or dispersal away from a central location or authority.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What is Centralization?

1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.
2. To bring under a single, central authority: The Constitution centralizes political power in the federal government.
To come together at a center; concentrate.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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R Project is Real

R Project (or simply, R) has become the analytical software of choice for many data scientists around the world. According to the R website:
R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display. It includes:
  • an effective data handling and storage facility,
  • a suite of operators for calculations on arrays, in particular matrices,
  • a large, coherent, integrated collection of intermediate tools for data analysis,
  • graphical facilities for data analysis and display either on-screen or on hardcopy, and
  • a well-developed, simple and effective programming language which includes conditionals, loops, user-defined recursive functions and input and output facilities.
For Excel (Microsoft) users, an R interface/add-in called RExcel is available and offers an integration path for analysts who use Excel. I tested RExcel on my personal workstation and found the add-in extensions to be reliable and useful.

R is available as "Free Software" under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License in source code form. R compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms and similar systems (including FreeBSD and Linux), Windows and MacOS.

Analysts and data scientists in all fields who have no yet evaluated R should do so at their earliest convenience. Follow the link below to learn more.

R Project

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cicero On Treason

What is Hard Currency?

hard currency
a currency that is not likely to depreciate suddenly in value; "the countries agreed to conduct their bilateral trade in hard currency, replacing previous barter arrangements"; "Germany once had a solid economy, good fiscal and monetary policies, and a hard currency"

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Roubini on Economic Instability

Business Intelligence (BI) versus Data Science (DS)

Steve Miller of Information Management offers this summary of the key distinctions between business intellience (BI) and data science (DS):
Below is a summarization of what I currently see as some of the differences between DS and BI. I consider the observations preliminary, more gray than black and white. My hope is that in time the “best practices” of BI will weigh positively on DS – and vice-verse. Just as I think BI will benefit from a deeper focus on approximate answers and ubiquitous machine learning, data science should appreciate what's been learned over the years in BI on methodology and governance.
Business Intelligence (BI) versus Data Science (DS)

Source: Miller, S (2011, May 3), Data Science, Part II, Information Management.

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Education Pays

Just in case anyone has any doubts about the value of education (click image to enlarge)...

Note: Data are 2010 annual averages for persons age 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

World-Class Risk Analysis Modeling for Excel

  • Object-based modeling that greatly simplifies models
  • Run and control multiple simulations
  • Univariate and multivariate data exploration tools, including time series with video mode
  • Informative input error messages for all functions
  • Library to organize models, simulation results, assumptions, and references
  • Categorization of ModelRisk functions for easy access
  • Aggregate modeling
  • Statistical uncertainty analysis for fitted models
  • Database linking tools
  • Bounding and shifting of distributions
  • All common multivariate distributions
  • 'View functions' toolbar to browse model components visually
  • Very extensive help file including videos, example models, and complete text on risk analysis
  • Customizable graphical presentation of results including histograms, cumulative plots, various tornado and spider plots, and stochastic dominance analysis
  • Automated exporting of results
  • Bootstrap functions
  • Splicing distributions
  • Risk event modeling
  • Expert elicitation tool for better estimation
  • Tool for combining expert estimates
  • Bayesian model averaging tools to combine fitted models
  • Extreme value calculations and simulation (min, max, min and max sets, and range)
  • Stop sum and sum product modeling
  • Statistical analysis of results directly within the spreadsheet
  • Correlation matrix calculations
  • Markov chain modeling
  • Moment calculations
  • Interpolation, summation, and integration functions
  • Log-likelihood and information criteria calculations for fitted models
  • Parameter description function
  • Statistical and rolling statistical functions
  • Probability calculation tools
  • Data random sampling and shuffling tools
  • Call ModelRisk functions via VBA
  • Matrix calculations
Learn More

The Sky Above Me...

I snapped this photograph of the sky above me here in State College, PA only moments ago -- the good life comes in moments...

The Sky Above Me, State College, PA [click to enlarge]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Canine Kindergarten Gets Tough

Was it Luck, Probability, or Both?

Meet Joan R Ginther, 63, winner of four separate multimillion dollar lotteries in Texas for a total of $20.4 million in winnings. By the way, Dr Ginther is a former math professor with a PhD in statistics from Stanford University.

Dr Joan R Ginther displays another winning ticket

So, was it luck, probability, or both...? Follow the link below to read the original report and article by Nathaniel Rich in Harper's.

Source: Rich, N (2011, August), The Luckiest Woman on Earth: Three Ways to Win the Lottery, Harper's.

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Austerity and Anarchy

A recent study by Prof Hans-Joachim Voth and Jacopo Ponticelli concludes that a positive correlation exists between budget cuts and social instability:
Does fiscal consolidation lead to social unrest? From the end of the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1930s to anti-government demonstrations in Greece in 2010-11, austerity has tended to go hand in hand with politically motivated violence and social instability. In this paper, we assemble crosscountry evidence for the period 1919 to the present, and examine the extent to which societies become unstable after budget cuts. The results show a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not the key factor. We also analyse interactions with various economic and political variables. While autocracies and democracies show a broadly similar responses to budget cuts, countries with more constraints on the executive are less likely to see unrest as a result of austerity measures. Growing media penetration does not lead to a stronger effect of cut-backs on the level of unrest.
The US might take a lesson from the European experiences of the 20th century. Follow the link below to read the entire study.

Source: Voth, H-J & Ponticelli, J (2011), Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2009, Centre for Economic Policy Analysis.

Darkening Tone from the Federal Reserve

The tone from the Federal Reserve has certainly darkened since June (only two months ago). The strike-throughs below represent the words used by the Fed in its June statement; the italics are the words used in its August statment:
  • "...economic growth is continuing at a moderate pace, though somewhat more slowly has been considerably slower than the Committee had expected..."
  • "...recent labor market indicators have been weaker than anticipated suggest a deterioration..."
  • "...household spending continues to expand has flattened out..."
The revised views at the Fed appear ominous for near-term economic growth in the US.

Federal Reserve Building, Washington, DC

Source: Indiviglio, D (2011, August 9), Fed Tries to Stimulate the Economy With Its Words, The Atlantic.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Restoring US Monetary Credibilty

How much are your personal assets and skills worth to a buyer willing to pay in gold...?

US $10 Gold Certificate (1928)

Gary Hamel: Reinventing Management for the 21st Century

Well Said...

"My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding on that certification from the secondary school to the university, but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity, through their own effort of will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual."

~ Dr Maria Montessori

Dr Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Gold: Independent Money

The case for returning to a global gold standard is quite compelling.

Follow the link below to learn more.

The Gold Standard Now

The 6 Hottest New Jobs in IT

The following are the "hottest new jobs in IT" according to Robert Strohmeyer of InfoWorld:
  1. Business architects ("think MBA with an IT focus")
  2. Data scientists ("from entry-level data cleaners to the high-level statisticians")
  3. Social media architects ("IT pros focused explicitly on social business")
  4. Mobile technology experts ("deploying and managing fleets of BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices")
  5. Enterprise mobile developers ("creators of enterprise mobile apps")
  6. Cloud architects ("virtualization networking and management")
Source: Strohmeyer, R (2011, June 14), The 6 Hottest New Jobs in IT, InfoWorld.

Gold to Silver Ratio Widens Dramatically

The markets are apparently reacting to the US debt downgrade last week by fleeing into gold, which is reaching record valuations. However, silver prices have remained static (thus far), which has resulted in a 43 to 1 currrent price ratio between gold and silver. Either gold is overvalued, or silver is undervalued at these ratios. Either way, silver appears to be a bargain right now.

US "Peace" Silver Dollar

Learn More

Sunday, August 07, 2011

TSA: "Thousands Standing Around"

How many TSA agents can you count "standing around" (or otherwise under utilized) in this photo of TSA screening activities in Denver...?

TSA Screening in Denver, CO [click image to enlarge]

From the spectators' seats, the US does not appear to be on a tight budget. No wonder the world is losing confidence in the US economy.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

On "Wrongology"

Find below an intriguing lecture by "wrongologist," Kathryn Schulz.

The notion that those who are wrong often feel right is interesting. Follow the link below to learn more about Kathryn Schulz's ideas, writings, and speaking activities.

Being Wrong

"Let's Make a Deal"

Friday, August 05, 2011

Formulae for Success: The Stiletto Principle

Capital resources are always scarce, which means that rational executives will allocate available resources in such a manner as to maximize returns. Business coach Jeffrey Tobin postulates the following as his proferred method for allocating scarce personal resources:
How do you use your assets... your assets of time, people and resources? What different results would you get if you put all of your “weight” into the stiletto-like focus of one or two goals? You’d expend no more effort, but you’d have a significantly greater impact.
Jeff's epiphany is what he calls The Stiletto Principle, which operationalizes as:

E = R / O,

where E = effectiveness, R = resources, and O = objectives. Accordingly, "the fewer goals over which you spread your resources, the greater your effectiveness. It’s as easy as that" (Tobin, 2011).


Follow the link below to learn more about The Stiletto Principle, as well as Jeffrey Tobin's speaking and coaching activities.

Jeffrey Tobin: The Stiletto Principle

PS: Give Jeff my regards when you speak with him...

Demographer Harry Dent Predicts Depression

Follow the link below to learn more about Harry Dent's demographic research methods.

H S Dent

US Employment to Population Ratio Continues Annual Decline

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US employment to population ratio* for July 2011 stood at 58.6%, up from 58.5% for June 2011, but down from 58.9% a year ago. The US employment to population ratio has been trending downwards since 2000.

Many economists believe that reporting the number employed as a percentage of the civilian population provides a more accurate description of the current state of employment than conjecturing the number of "unemployed" in a population. The US employment to population ratio reached an historical peak of 64.4% on an annual basis in 2000.

*The BLS defines employment and population (civilian noninstitutional) as follows:
Employment consists of all persons who, during the reference week (the calendar week including the twelfth day of the month), (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, or (b) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.... The civilian noninstitutional population consists of persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Storm Clouds Ahead

The DJIA was down 512.76 points registering a disappointing 4.31% decline for the day -- markets in Europe and Asia were also down sharply -- apparently, the world's markets are not impressed with the recent budget deal passed by Congress earlier this week -- I see storm clouds ahead...

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Of Research Scholars, Scholar-Practitioners, and Research-Scholar-Practitioners

How does one distinguish the research scholar from the scholar-practitioner? Moreover, what of the ambitious scholar who engages in both research and practice at once as a research-scholar-practitioner?

The Free Dictionary defines the “scholar” as “a learned person” and “specialist in a given branch of knowledge.” Thus, the scholar is a person of learning and knowledge. However, operationalizing the distinction between a “research scholar” and a “scholar-practitioner” requires parsing the terms “research” and “practitioner.” Referring again to The Free Dictionary, “research” is a “scholarly or scientific investigation or inquiry,” as in a “close, careful study.” However, a “practitioner” is “a person who practices a profession or art,” where “practice” is the “exercise of an occupation or profession” or “business of a professional person.”

Research Scholar Career Domains

Scholar-Practitioner Career Domains

Research-Scholar-Practitioner Career Domains

Based on these definitions, the nexus of the research scholar is formally research, whereas the nexus of the scholar-practitioner is practice. That both the research scholar and scholar-practitioner are scholars remains true by definition. However, the central focus and core disciplines of such scholars stand in contrast.

Of course, the research scholar can also engages in practice, just as a scholar-practitioner can conduct research. Moreover, the ambitious scholar might pursue all three domains as a research-scholar-practitioner, though the modern scholar does not generally engage in all three domains at once. Most scholar-practitioners become practicing physicians, attorneys, optometrists, business administrators, psychologists, audiologists, and so forth, and will likely never conduct or publish research during their lifetimes. Conversely, most research scholars choose to decline professional practice as a career pursuit. The idealized career domains for the research scholar, scholar-practitioner, and research-scholar-practitioner are illustrated above.

As preparation for each career path, the candidate scholar will generally pursue a degree program that advances one’s preferred aspirations. For example, the committed research scholar will generally earn a research degree (e.g., PhD, DA, DS) early during a career. Conversely, the dedicated scholar-practitioner will want to earn a professional doctorate (e.g., MD, DO, JD, PsyD, DBA, EdD, DPT, AuD) as preparation for a career in practice. Of course, the educational paths of scholars will vary and exceptions to the above are common. For example, many with research doctorates will become scholar-practitioners during the course of their careers. Likewise, some earning professional doctorates will eventually become full-time research scholars. Exceptions to the above educational paths abound based on individual career choices. However, the aspiring research scholar will generally choose to pursue a research doctorate, while the aspiring scholar-practitioner will usually seek a professional doctorate as preparation for their respective careers.

Concluding, scholars tend to focus their careers on either research, practice, or both, the result of which is to cause the scholar to emerge as either a research scholar, scholar-practitioner, or research-scholar-practitioner. These three career paths tend to guide the aspiring scholar through a preparatory degree program that aligns with the activity focus contemplated along each path. Scholars may later change their career paths based on future career goals, which can result in a quasi-misalignment between one’s doctoral degree and the resulting career path undertaken. Nevertheless, such career shifts appear to be commonplace in modern society as exemplified by the significant number of doctors with professional degrees working as research scholars, as well as the number of doctors with research degrees working in professional practice.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Support the American Legion

Please follow the link below to learn more about how you can support the America Legion and its vital programs.

Even a few dollars can make a huge difference -- thank you in advance for your help...

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